UK court orders debit of Rs4.5b from Pakistan High Commission over non-payments

Due to non-payment by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to Broadsheet LLC, a UK high court has ordered that an amount of Rs 4.5 billion be debited to the account of the Pakistan High Commission, it emerged on Thursday.

According to the order of the court, millions of dollars must be debited to the accounts of the high commission by December 30, reported sources the Foreign Office.

United Bank Limited (UBL) wrote a letter to the Pakistan High Commission, dated December 29, and requesting the provision of written debit account details for the payment of $28,706,533.35 in line with Final Third Party Order issued by the high court. The letter warned that the bank would unilaterally debit the accounts if no written details are provided.

The high commission replied, in a letter addressed to UBL Chief Executive Officer Brain Firth, that if any attempt to unilaterally debit the account would be a violation of international law and a breach of trust. The high commission warned that such actions would affect their relationship with the bank.

The deadline has now passed, but FO officials claim that the amount has not been deducted from the accounts.

In November 2018, the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) awarded penalty of $17 million to the anti-corruption watchdog. Later $3 million case cost was added to the award. In March 2019, the LCIA awarded $20 million final award.

As NAB did not pay that amount, London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) penalised them for $17 million as well as a further $3 million case cost; due to interest rates, the award amount reached $28.7 million by December 2020.

NAB officials had previously made a mistaken payment of $5 million and caused a loss of $14 million to Pakistan.

Senior lawyers have already demanded stern action against the NAB officials, responsible for this loss. Until now, more than Rs2 billion had been spent on litigation.


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